Coast police questioned over theft

A CLOUD is hanging over next month’s first anniversary of the death of a Gympie man after claims police stole $20 from his wallet after the accident that claimed his life.

Forty-year-old Ian Purtell died instantly when he was struck by a car near the Ettamogah Pub about 8.30pm on June 3 last year.

He is believed to have stopped at the hotel on his way home from seeing family at Deception Bay.

Mr Purtell had been walking along Frizzo Road, a service road which runs parallel to the Bruce Highway, when he was struck and killed.

Although Queensland Police Service officials have said there was “reasonable belief that an offence of theft had occurred”, there are reportedly no plans to lay charges.

The Ethical Standards Command has reportedly been investigating at least four Coast officers over the missing $20 for almost a year.

Officers responsible for receiving the property belonging to the deceased man noted he had four $20 notes in his wallet. Media reports said that by the time the wallet was returned to the station, one $20 note had disappeared.

One officer offered to replace the $20 with his own money but was told the matter would have to be reported to Ethical Standards.

While the investigation was underway, the victim’s mother is believed to have urged police to “move on” from the incident.

The incident follows the alleged theft of 2000 ecstasy pills and other drugs by a tradesman at Maroochydore police station more than two years ago.

In 2002, the theft of $114,000 in suspected drug money from Maroochydore police station prompted a Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation.

The money and 115 ecstasy pills had been seized during a raid on a room at the Outrigger Mooloolaba Resort.

It disappeared from the safe six weeks later and was never found but no charges have ever been laid.

Gympie Times

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